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Full text of "The master taken up from the sons of the prophets : a sermon preached at Cambridge upon the sudden death of the reverend & learned John Leverett, president of Harvard College"

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in 2011 with funding from 

University of Toronto 



http://www.archive.org/details/mastertakenupfroOOcolm 



The MASTER 

Taken up from the 

Sons of the Prophets. 

A ~SER~Mb N 

Preached at Cambridge 

Upon the S>ttDt)ett DEATH 

O F TH E 
Reterend * Learned 

yOHN LE^ERETT. 

Prefident of Httrvard College, 

By Benjamin Colman, 

Paftor of a Church in Bofton. 



II. Kings ill, II. EHfha ihe Son of Shiphac, 

which poured water on the hands of fi^ijah. 
Gcnefis xxvii. 2, I know not the day of my death. 



Boston: Printed for Samuel Gerrfjh. 
I 7 2 zj. 



CO 



The Majler taken up 



From the 



Sons of the Prophets. 



IL KINGS IL 3. 

/jf jVD the Sons of the Prophets that were 
at Bethel came forth to Elifla and faid 
unto him^ Knowefi thou that the Lord 
will take away thy MaHer from thy head 
to day > And he fat d^ Tea^ I know tt^ 
hold you your peace. 



HE day was now come, the 
famous A^y.o^ Elijah's leaving 
the world, and being taken up 
intoHeaven. It feems to have 
been revealed to him by God 
lbm@ time before that he 
fhould not fee death 5 not go 
thewayof all the earth. He 
kept this woudrous Event a Secret in his own 
breaft, and did not fo much as let his dear Elijha 
into it. The humble Saint was not exalted under 

the 




i The Mafter taken up 

the Revelation, nor defired any Witnefs of the 
diftinguifliing favour of God to him. He J)rb* 
pofed therefore unto El^Jhuhis tarrying ^to;/^j/, 
for (faid hq) ibe Lord bath Je^j t^ic to Bethel. 
But God had revealed to Elijha the Secret which 
Elijah would not. He therefore fware to him in 
a fervent holy zeal, ( with equal wifdom, piety 
and devotion) That a^ the Lord livdhe would not 
leave him. So they went down together to Br/&- 

e!. At Bethel there was a Schc>ol cj theFrophets^ 

t>r one of the Colleges of 1/ roe I -^ where (fays 
Hue ) ^' men were train'd up and iixiploy'd in the 
** Exercifes of religion and devotion j and whither 
good people reforted to folemnize the appoint- 
ed Feafts with praying and hearing, when 
they had not the convenience for Saciifices & 
Incenfe : And thus there was a provifion made 
by the care of Heaven for the keeping up of 
Religion in Ifrael, when the ten Tribes were 

*' gone into a general Apoftafy. To be fure 

ii^f/fe^/ now needed this School of the Prophets to 
be in it, for one of Jeroboams Calves was fet 
up there ^ and no doubt the School was a Hand- 
ing Witnefs againfi: the Idolatrous Worthip there. 
At fcrico there was another of thefe Schools •, a 
place as unworthy of fuch an honour as Bethel 
was, for *' it was built in defiance of the Divine 
'' Curfe. 

NOW before God would take up Elij(A) he 
fends him to vifit thefe Schools -, " thefe Semi* 
*' naries of religion and learning-, that he might 
once more pray with and blefs thenn,. inftruft & 
charge them, before his tranfiatievn* Probably he 



(C 

cc 



from the Sons of the Prophets] 5 

had prefidedovet them while he liv'd, as Elijha 

did after his Afcent, It may be ( fays one ) '' he 

^' had been Inftrumental in the founding them. 

.Jput to be fure be v/as well known there, and 

j^ighly reverenced in his Vifitations. He came 

vin the Authority of a Prophet, and was receii^'d 

in the Name of the Lord. 

THE Sms of the Prophets were the 5^W^rr 
that dwelt and ftudied and Worfliip'd in the Col- 
leges of /^r^Wi Sa?7iu€l in his day had the In-^ 
fpeftion and Inftrudion of them, and ElijfJm in 
his time, God raised up many Frophst sio Ifrael 
out of thefe Schools. And he fometimes made 
his Revelations to the pious Students there^ 
Therefore were they properly called the ScJis of 
the Prophets. Prophets were their Mafters and 
j?refidents,and the Spirit of Prophefy relied upon 
•many of them. 

AT this time God jeVeaied his |)nrpore of 
tranflating Elijah to fome of them. They there- 
fore came forth to Elijha upon his arrival at Berh^ 
f/, and fay to him in the words of my Text, K//^ry- 
eji thou that the Lord will taice atmy thy Ma^cf 
Jromthy head to day ? 

IT appears by this that they themfelves had 
the knowledge of it. They fpeak of itasPror 
phets well might and ought under the Revela- 
tions of God to them, as a thing certain St pail: 
all doubt. They fuppofe that God had not hid 
it from EtifiiayfmcQ he Iiad rcTeal'd it unto thetrl^ 
Yet they faw him foxompos d and fedate, while 
they themfelves were under a more vifible fur- 
prift^ that it gave 'em a kind of fudden doubt 



4 The Mader taken up 

whither he had the knowledge of it In that 
' cafe they find ihemfelves mov'd, and think it a 
duty of love to hiin, to inform him of it. Or a 
natural Curiofity and religious Expetlation of fo 
rare and wondrous an Event led 'em to enquire 
of him concerning it. It might ferve to the 
ftrengthning their own & his faith. They were 
in bajl to vent themfelves to him upon it : they 
came forth and fpake to him of it , full of the 
3iiatter. 

BUT let us mind how they fpake of the Pro^ 
fhet and of his Tranflation. i. They reverently 
call him Mi^er ^ Eliiha's Mafter and theirs. 
He was a venerable and aged Teacher from God, 
and had Authority and Government over them. 
It was an honour to E/i/Ija to ferve before him, 
and to pour water upon his hands. Yea it became 
as great and good a man as Obadiah to fall down 
on his face before him, and to fay, Art thou that 
my Lord Elijah. 

2. THEY" fpeak of the Lrd's taking him 
away. Who but the Lord, the Lord of Hofts 
could do this ? He only has his way in the 
rvhirlwind^ and makes the clouds his chariots, and 
rides upon the wings of the wind. He took him 
up br the miniftry and hands of Angels : they 
are his Minifters and flames of fire : they now 
^i^g^i^r^A zs Chariots and borfes oj/ire. So we 
Yeadofthe Tranflation of £^^^^^ that God took 
h:m. It is fo likewife in mens leaving the world 
by death, and in the deceafeof the mod: inferior 
perfon as w. 11 as the Prophet ; God takes them 



from the Sons of the Prophets. 5 

3. THEY fpeak of his being fallen jrom r^eir 
Head. He was their Mafter, and fo above them, 
was placed over them by Providence. They had 
been us'd to fit as Scholars at his feet, while he 
taught 'em» So we read of Pj/^/ that he had been 
bro't up at the feet of Gamaliel. To our day the 
Teacher ufually fits in a chair raifed a little above 
their feats who come to learn of him, as well to 
put honour on him that teaches, as for the con- 
venience of their hearing him. 

4. THEY fpeak of God's taking away Elijah 
that day from them. The time w?^^ fixed to a 
day and hour, and it w^sfi^dden upon them. It's 
likely that it was reve^Fd to 'em but that very 
day, wherein it was done. 

But laftly, THE fingular thing here was that 

the thing 8c the time was fo well Atiow^ : known 

to Elijah, known to Elifloa, known in the Schools^ 

As I faid before, God had revealed it. He would 

not do this great thing and not reveal it to Ins 

fervants the Prophets. It was meet ( fince it 

4")leafed God ) that E/ijah fliould know it, that he 

might do his laft work,and meekly meet fo great 

an honour done him. In this he v/as a Type of 

Chriji who knew both the day and hour of his 

Crucifixion & Afcention : fob, 15. i. Nozij ivhen 

Jefus knew that his hour uras come, that hefI:otdi 

depart out of this world tinto the Father, ■ 

It was meet ( by the will of God J that Elif/?a 

Ihould know of his Mafters afcenfion, that he 

might attend his fteps, keep clofe to him, fee hin^ 

^fcend,and receive his parting Blelling & inherit 

his Prophetic spirit. It was gc?od tor the Schools 

E 2 Xi\?X 



6 The Matter take'n up 

that they knew before hand of their Makers 
taking up, that they alfo might be witnelles of 
it to the Church of God, and that their faith m 
a blefTed Immortality, of body and foul together 
in heaven, might bp confirmed. ™ But yet it 
was a new and ftrange thing in the Providence of 
God, and as fuch it is fpokenof in my text, that 
any of them fhould know any thing of the mat- 
ter 5 the Lord's taking away their mafler from 
their head th^t day ; Knoweji thou that the Lord 
will do it ? 

I come now to Elijha's Anfwer, J know it, hold 
you your peace. No wonder that he the favourite 
Scholar knew it^ when the reft did. — But what 
means he by bidding them hold their peace > --^ 
There feems to have been a moiejiy and decency, 
as well as devotion in his reftraining them now 
from fpeaking of it to him hlijah had not him- 
felf fpoken to him of it, nor had he prefum'd to 
fpeak to him \ he therefore bid his Brethren be 
filent, and keep it to themfelves. The eager 
manner wherein they fpake to him might dif- 
cover that knowledge, which his mafters fllence 
about the matter taught him to conceal. ^' Let 
** not my Mailer perceive that I qnderft^nd any 
*^ thing of it : ^o^^. Fatrickow the place. \t 
appeared improper & unfeafonable for them to be 
tvbi/perirg toand enquiring of him now. They 
might talk it over hereafter. Now he would 
not have his Tho'ts, di^nrbei or diverted from 
the laft words and adtions of his Mafter. He 
*^ would have them be compofed and fcd^ne a^ 

•" -^ • '' he 



from the Sons of the Prophets] J 

•^' he was, exp^fling and preparing for the Event 
"with awful jfilence^ and deep contemplation* 
He had more than enough WcrJc to do co get and 
keep his oWn Soul in a meetpofture for the part^ 
ing hour and the parting bleiimg, 

I come now'to gather up fome of the Doffrjnal 
JSWcs orOblervations ^ which thi&Words fupply us 
with. And that I may accomodate my DifcourlV 
to the prefent Audience, and to the VrovidcTict 
that brings mc hither^ I ftiall ranlc my ]\otes ia 
thefe two Claffes ^ 

1. SUCH as may more peculiarly refped the 
Schools and the So^^ of the' Prophets. 

2. SUCH as may be of niore cominon concern 
*and ufe to all of us. 

I. And iirfi:, THE Spools' afid' the Sons of 
learmng are inftrufted and admoniflied froni 
rtiy text how very much they ought to Jet by 
^e precious I'lfe^ and ht offered witt) the Deceajh 
of fuch as God has made their wife Ma/^ers and 
pious Teachers. It ought greatty to be kid to 
heart by all the People of God, when God takes 
away the Frefidents 8c Mailers of their Colleges^ 
but more efpecially ought the Sons and Students 
in them to mourn their own more immediate Be- 
reavement^ as affeftionate and dutiful Children 
weep and are in bitternefs when God takes away 
their loving and dear Parent and Father. As 
Jofeph fell upon his Yathifs fact as loon as he had 
given up the Ghoft, and v^ep upon it and hjjcd 
it 5 fo it Ihould be her^. 

THE 



8 The Mafter taken up 

THE Sons of the Prophets in my text fpeak, 
I. As they that knew the worth of the Ineftima* 
ble life of their Mafter, and valued it at the 
higheft price. They fpeak as thofe that wifli^d 
and pray'd for his longer life, might it have 
pleafed God ^ and as thofe ( we hope ) that had 
well profited and improved by it. 2. They fpeak 
as thofe that were deeply afFeded with their own 
and the publick lofs in their Matters Departure 
from them. 

, IT is true there was no Death in the cafe to 
Him : yet he was as much taken away from them 
as if only his happy Soul had been taken up. 
Altho' there was Life and Immortality bro't to 
light, both in Church and School, in their MaG- 
ters tranflation , yet they were that day and on a 
fudden to take zfinal /^^T;^of him,and well might 
they therefore «?r^^ for the wf elves ^ being to fee 
his heavenly face and hear his pleafant awful 
x^oice no more. They could all with burfting 
hearts have joyn'd EUfha\ Cry after him, now 
he was going up, — Our father^ our father^ the 
Chariots oj Ifrael and the horfemen thereof, 

AND fo it becomes the Sons of learning and 
knowledge, the Sons of virtue and religion, the 
Children oj light and oj the refurreUion^ to mourn 
and improve the deaths of their learned and pious 
Matters from time to time, as God takes them 
away from their head. 

HERE I will jutt hint at a few Leffons, the 
proper lefTon of the Iday^ which my text is full of. 

I. THERE ought Xoh^ Schools ^vA Colleges^ 
and Majicrs and Tutors, for the training up our 

Sons 



front the Sons of the Frophets. p 

Sons in facred Knowledge and ufeful Learning : 
And it is a great honour and happinefs to a Peo^ 
pie to have fuch means of a religious and learned 
Education among them ^ for the furniture and 
accomplifhment of perfons from age to age for 
the fervice of God's San£tnary and alfb of the 
State : That in every fucceedingGeneration there 
may be Sons and Plants of renown growing up^ 
to fill the beft chairs of honour and lervice. 

1' SUCH Seminaries of religion and learning 
fhould have the fpecial care and love of God's 
Minifiers *^ their prayers and viiits, their infpec- 
tion and direftion , and therefore fuch ordinarily 
ought to be at their head, and betrufted with the 
Government of them. 

3. THEREFORE Religion and facred Know- 
ledge, the Dodrines, Precepts and Inftitutions 
of God's Word ^ the theory and praUke ofGod/i- 
nefs^ ought to be made the fpecial Subjeft, Scope 
and End of the Inftrudtion and Education in fuch 
Societies : That they may be places of eminent 
virtue, fobriety and good morals, and alfo of e- 
minent piety, fandity and devotion , which is 
more than all humane literature,ilrr.f ^Sciences 5 
thefe being but as humble hand maids to wait on 
& minifter to the other as their miftrefs & queen, 

4. MY textfhowsus that the Inlpedlion, care 
and overfight of fuch a Society is an honour and 
truji wovthy of thehigheft Proj^hets of the Lord-, 
2L Samuel^ zn Elijah ox EliJIja:^ their wifdom, au- 
thority, gravity & fanftity ^ and that fuch Men 
of God in fuch pofts of fervice, are to be moffc 
highly re vercacd ^x^ con mi mrthy of double 
hnour, '"^ ^ "^ "^ 5. THE 



l<5 Th^ Mafter X^ken up 

. .5. THE Minifters of Religion, andall men of 
letters ^nd piety, " as many as are going to hea- 
^' ven themfelves^ihould while they live & when 
?' they are leaving the world ^ be particularly 
concerned for tho/e xxHram they Imve behind \m ^ 
and who are riling lip after theln to fill their 
places by the will of God : And in a fpedal man- 
ner our Schools and Colleges fliould be always on 
our hearts, and we IhoUld often vifit them in our 
Spirits and in our affedlionate prayers unto God 
for them, even to the hft day and hours of our 

life.^ So Cbrijl the gre;at Prophet loved ^/j* own 

wnto the end, and the t^earer his hour drew on 
the more he bad them on his heart ^ Job. 17.1 1^ 
And novo I am no more in the worlds bnt thefe are 
in the world^ and I come to thee^ Holy father^ 
keef through thy own name^ &c. 

6 ON the other hand. When Prophets and 
holy Men of God df/V, Men of eminent Character 
and Service in the Church of Chrift \ the Schools 
ought particularly to enquire into & mourn their 
departure from 'em* We may exped the Tears 
of the Sons of the Fropbets in this cafe, if other 
eyes be dry, and that whoever are unconcerned 
and unaffeded under fuch Providences, tbey 
will lay the fame to heart and piojufly improve 
them. 

7. And laftly. THE Sons of the Fropbets are 
to hold thqmfelves particularly admoniftied by 
my text, to he exemplary in their Adaratians qf 
God and Submijjions to him under fuch their £e-^ 
reavments ; Exemplary in their Silence^ how- 
ever fudden and fuxjipufing the ftroke may b« 



from th0 Sons of the Prophets. 1 1 

upou them i or how great foever their |of$ 
may b^, and deep their for^ow ; Exemplary fiis 
their Humiliations^ and godly forrowing nntvs 
Repentance, under the mighty hand of God ; 
Exemplary in their Supplications aijd cries to h#a-' 
ven after their alcending Fathers, for the Reft 
of the Spirit of light and grace upon themfely^es ; 
E^^emplary in their Enquiries into the mind oZ 
God & the meaning of his Difpenfation to them ; 
in their enquiries into their own inftant & fpecial 
Dut)r, and how they ought to ^arry themfelyesv 
fo as to honour and pleale God. Exemplary m 
their trud in God and e2s:pe6]:ations from hijn^' 
for ailthoft fupplies of Gracie which they ftand 
in abfolute need of, and for the repairing the? 
breaches which h^ malce^, in his moil wife alt 
governing Providence ; And finally, E;i:empla^ 
ry each one in his proper ftation in a propen 
Atfivity and prefent diligence, in what is refpec^ 
tively incumbent on us for the good of the be- 
reaved Society , Accounting our felves called of 
God to exert our felves now, with hjumility ^i^ 
caution.for the common weal, fecurity .and peace 
of the widowed Academy, For iiideecl, as jaft^p 
the death oi Mo/es the fervant of the Lord, th^ 
itord fpake unto 7^2/^^^, Mofes Miniftcr^ hJn^^^ 
Mojes my fervant is dead^ nov) therefore ^nj^ 
Thou ^, So when God takes .^v/ay the He^d of ^ 
^ Kingdom, a Provincj^ or a College, or of any So^i^ 
ety greater or leis, He always calls upon th,^ 
next furvivoiir§ in Jnlpeiftion, Auiacrity ai}4 
QQY^mmmt^ to exert tiien^f4yc^ in tlieir re- 

f^ Cpeftiy| 



t7 The Matter taken up 

fpeftive flations and to unite their powers for the 
common good of it. 

THESE are fome of the /ejfo^is and inftrudion^ 

which the Schools and &ons of the Prophets may 

and fhould learn from what is related in my text,-- 

And O that it might pleafe the Eternal Spirit to 

feal up Inftrudlion to us under the prefent dark 

and awful Providence in the fudden death of our 

Frrfidenc and common Father. May He teach 

us (for none teacheth likehim) to difcern his 

mind and receive his will, with a filial reverence 

and religious fubjeftion to Him, as the Father of 

/pints, O that the fruits of this grievous afflidi- 

on may be peaceable and joyous to us, fandify- 

ing and faving, happy and bleifed, and honorary 

to God fi^om us.^ Owx School \s to day turn'd 

into the School of affliction, and the lefTon we 
have to learn is, to live inftantly, earneftly and 
diligently to God, as thofe ( however young and 
hail} that muft die fliortly & may die fuddenly ; 
and who are haftily following our Fathers to the 
grave, and would be following them to heaven. 
To day is j^our learning and working time, yonr 
j^raying and finding time ^ and you rnuft be 
working while it is day, the night Cometh ^ re- 
deeming your time & opportunity K advantages* 
Take hold of Inftruftion, and keep her for flie is 
thy life. Learn to day left you die to morrow, 
snd that you may be fit to die then if God fliould 
call you away. Learn diligently for there is no 
work or device, wifdom and knowledge in the 
grave whither thou goeft. Learn that you may 
live C by the will of God ) ^ud m time teach 

others. 



from the Sons of the Prophets] \ 5 

others. Learn by your Fathers death to day, 
that ( if God pleafes ) you may one day ftand in 
his place, and fhine in more than his Gifls and 
Services. Ply diligently your ficred Siudies,that 
atlaftyour holy Spirits may Le taken up to the 
World of light, and death may be but a jiyful 

Tranflation of them- . But I may not inlarge, 

as I could wifli, in this Addrrfs of my Text unto 
the Schools and the Sons of Learning. 

II. I muft not omit the other 'Notes and In* 
{lru6tion^5 which I faid may be of a more com'- 
mon ufe to us all^ and of a more general concern* 
I come therefore in the fecond place to thcfe, 
And 

I. IT is the hordthat takes avctty one and ano- 
ther out of this world, and he does it as the Su- 
preme and Sovereign Lord of alh He took Enoch 
and hlias^ and He th^ Lord oj Hofs takes away 
every one that dies. The Agency and Regency of 
God is efpecially to be acknowledged in this. 
Life and Death are the higheft concern of Crea- 
tures, and to be the Lord of thefe is tl^e high glc- 
r}^ of God. This is a lingular thing in his Do- 
minion and Providence, which fpcaks him to be 
the blefled and only Potentate, the King oj Kings 
and Lord oJ Lords ^ who tho' called Gods on earth 
yet muil: die like men. The one Eternal Spirit is 
the God of the fpirits of all flefli, and in his hand 
is the Soul of every living thing and the breath 
of all mankind y 2ind he kills and he makes 
alive. The Eternal Godhead and power oUJ^rifi 
15 thus exhibited in glorious Viiionj having t]i:: 

F 2 k:/ 



i4 fhe Mxift^r tahn up' 

key of Hades in his hatiA The God of our Spirifs^ 
the Former and Preferver of the Spirit of man 
tvithin hiiii, he fays when oUr fpirits fhall conji 
Into thefe Tabernacles of flefh and when they 
fhall leave the fame. As there is no fuch thing 
as Chance acknowledged in the Chriftiun Schools^ 
fo leaft of all in the matter of life and death. 
The tninute life o£ ih^ ^Ipdrrozf) falls not to the, 
groiilld without the will and direftion of youi^ 
Father in heaven ;, how much more is the fupe-^ 
riot life of man taken away by his fpecial will St 
ti ier. — — We muft be fure to give unto the Lord 
inis Glory, If a. 38. 15. What Jlxtll I fay ? He 
ha^fpoken tinto me^ and H'mfelj hath done it, 
Dd^, 5. 2^. The God in who/e hand thy breath />, 
glorify. FfaL 42. 8. My prayer to the God ej my 
life. 

2. THE Lord has appointed the <^(f^^ ^//i the 
hour when he will take away one and another, 
and the manner and circumftances of every ones 
departure out of the v/orld are foreknown and de- 
termined by God. Out times are all in God's 
Land ^ the time of our death as well as the time 
6f oiir birth -, for there is a time to be born and a 
iirtie to die. God gives to all life and breath and 
k\i things •, and as he has made of one blood all 
nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the 
^earth, fo he has determined the times before ap- 
jpointed and the bounds of ever}'' ones Habitation : 
when and where we fliall be born, where 
and how and how long we fliall live in theWorld, 
9.nd. when ahd where and hoW We fliall die. Job 
7« I. Is there not ait appointed time unty man tip^ 



from the Sons of the Prophets. i $ 

inearth} 14. y* Seeing his days are determi^ 
ned^ the number of his months are with thee \thou 
haft appointed his bounds which he cannot fafs, God 
has appointed and determined who fhall die to 
day and who to morrow, thro' the whole habita- 
ble Earth. All that concerns us living & dying, 
in time and thro' Eternity, is everlaftingly fixed 
in c*he Eternal Counfel and Decree of God. 

;* HE orders and appoints the fudden depar- 
ture. He fays to one to day thou Jh alt be with me^ 
and to another /fe/i* night jhall thy foul be required. 
God takes away f)me without giving theni a day 
or an hours warning. Give me leave, with but 
a little ftrain and force on my text, to draw fome 
lm?igto? ^fudden deceafefrom the happy pafs 
and change of Elias. Some have died in their 
fleep^ and others funk down in their chair, and 
had ( it may be) no more prefent fenfe of death, 
than if the cha^^ge of £/w had pafTed on them. 
Some pious Souls have been rapt up into heaven 
in an inftant^ or rather taken out of the body 
without knowing any thing of it, till they have 
found themfelves in the arms of Angels* The 
great and good and dear to Heaven, die fuddenly 
as well as others.-— Some godly Men have wiflo'd 
for it as an eafy and defirable palTage, by the 
will of God 5 and have been denied it. To otliers 
the defire has been granted^ and been to 'em as 
the tree of life. They have had no bands in tlieir 
death, but have died like Aaron c^ Mojes in the 
Moant of God, ( and as ih^Jevcs fpeak ) had 
their Souls kijjed away. — •To a Perfon prepared 
to die^. a iliddcn death is no evil. It may be 

granted 



l6 Th^ Matter taken tip 

granted as a favour. Some eminently pious Ml- 
nifters have died in the pnlpit, eras foon as they 
have left it — . But it is ordinaril}'^ a v.ery awful 
thing to Survivors, when their Bereavement 
comes fo fiddeiily upon them* Nor is a fudden 
death ordinarily to be defired, cither for our 
felvcs or others. Few are in fuch readinefs for 
their great Change And it is a great and aw- 
ful thing to die* What can be done but once, and 
whereon our Eternal Slate depends, had need be 
well done. The wife Virgins need to rife ancj 
rrim their lamps Vv^licn the Bridgroom comes.-— 
How drcanjiil muft a fudden deatl) be to an un- 
prepared iboul I Suddenly he is defiroy d, and 
that withcut remedy r — ^-Such as have been moft 
prepared have defired (by the will of God ) the 
Opportunit}'' of a more fclenin and jornml dying -i^ 
having time and notice giren them to take leave 
of their friends, and to leave their dying 7>//'/- 
vwny to the ways and truths of God, and their 
dying Bl-J]ing with their families and children. 
It is a known prayer^ and may be well made by 
moft, from fudden dcath^ good Lord deliver us\ 
Rut it is a better jlraj^er and needs to be made 
L}^ every owq,^ for fudden death good Lord pre- 

fare us. We are all liable to \X. ^ and 

where had we been now, if in the night or morn- 
ing pafs'd we had died fuddenly / or where fhould 
v/e be to night if when we lye down we fliould 
fleep the fletp of death ! TVtyoung and bail and 
flrong man may die in an inftant, and in the 
very miciil: oDiealth to his own and others ap- 
j^rchcn-flon. Jcb 21, 23. One dies in his full 

frength, 



from the Sons />fthe Prophet si 17 

firength^ being voholly at cafe iSf quiet \ his breajls 
are full of milky and his bones are tnoiflned with 
7narrow. 

/\. GOD takes away Trophets and Superiors 
fuddenl/ and in an inftant, as well as others. 
All Souls are alike his, all are his creatures^ 
There is no refpedt of perfons with God, nor any 
diftinftion of men in the cafe of death. We fee 
the viife man dies, likewife the fool and brutifii 
perfon perifh. The Godly and the wicked fare 
alike very often as to the manner and circum^' 
ftances of their dying. And fodo the High and 
the low, the poor and the rich. Job 21.22. Shall 
any teach God knowledge > feeing he judgeih thofe 
that are high. *• God takes away fuperiors from 
'^ our heads ^ inferiors from our ject^ and equals 
*^ from our arms. Kingdoms and Provinces, 
Colleges and Churches, Schools & Families have 
\\it\itieads taken off, taken away at what in- 
ftant God decrees. The Prince is luddenly cal"* 
led domi from his Throne, and the beggar is as 
fuddenly carried up by Angels from his dunghil, 
God calls for the Teacher to day, and for the 
Scholar to morrow. God fummons the King as 
thefubject, the Mafirer or the Servant \ for they 
are all on a level before Him and death. Alike 
they ly down in theduft and the worms cover 
them \ till in the Refurrsttion the upright lliall 
have the Dominion — ~ Yet to us now the Provi- 
dence and Judgment of the great God appears 
more awful in the fudden deceafe of 5^/?^ri^v' per" 
fons •, and God requires of 119 a more lolemn at- 
tention tp his mind and meaning thereiot If^'i'u 



1 8 The Mafter taken up 

3. I. For behold^ the Lord jbe Lordejhojis^ takes 
away the ftay and the fiaff^ the judge ^ the prophet^ 
the prudent iSf the ancient. Men that have been 
lent to the world for public and extenfive Blef- 
iings, and who in their refpeftive Orders have 
been the honour and delight and riches of their 
Country \ yea and like Elijah the chariots of 
Ifrael and the horfcmen thereof. 'Sffhtnfuch are 
taken away we owe a very reverend attention 
to the voice of God in his fovereign Providence, 
a ferious consideration of it, a profound fubmifli^ 
on to it, and a very pious improvement of it.-— 
So were the Schools and the Church moved at the 
tranflation of E'ias the fir ft \ and fo were Chrifi 
and his Difciples moved at the Death oiElias the 
Jecond^ the Bapitjis death. 

5, WHEN we know the will of God concern* 
ingus or ours, it becomes us to hold our peace ^ 
I know it, faid E'ijlja^ hold you your peace. Let 
ail jlejh learn of him to htfilent before the Lord 
under furpriling Providences Silence is fome» 
times loud praife ; yea fometimes Fraife psjilent. 
Ffdl.Ss. I. Silence to thee, God fees and hears 
the humble and reverend Tho'ts of the affefted 
heart Pj'^^*\* 4* Stand in awe and commune vpith 
your own hearty and be ftilL Aaron under a very 
fudden and awful bereavement, a double be* 
reavement, held his pe^we^ and greatly honoured 
God before the Congregation diljraeL Job fat 
a great while in wondrous fllence, and in thq 
dult, a^^d his friends v/ith him before the Lord ; 
At laft he fpake fomething amifs, but afterward 
he kid his haud again upon hi§ mouthp Davli 
'^ was 



prbfn the tons of the Prophets. j 9 

was fometimes dumb with iilence when his for*^ 
row was ftirred. Pfah 39. 9. / opened not my 
noHth becaufe thou didS it. In this he was a Type 
of ChriJ}^ who was afflift^d and he was opprefled, 
yet he opened not his mouth. Surpriling and 
aftonilhing Providences may feetn to command 
our filence and ftrike us dumb^ Lighter grief 
may more eafily Ipeak and fredy vent it felR 
We Ihould be lilent fometimes, that we may the 
better think and fearch into the meaning of Pro- 
vidence. Silence may affift our compofure and 
fedatenefe, Jind help us to poflefs our Souls in pa- 
tience^being a check upon affedtions and paflions. 
By a time of wife filence we laay the more futa- 
hly open our mouth at laft for the glorifying God. 
For we muft net, cannot be always filent under 
fbrrow. While we are mufing the fire fliould and 
will kindle : As Davids heart grew hot within 
him^ then/pake he with his tongue : And he fpafce 
with equal fervency and wifdom, Lord ftiake me 
to knovp my end^ and themeafure of wy dayes tichat 
it is^ that I may know how jrail I am , heboid thai$ 
haji made my dayes a hand- breadth and my age is as: 

nothing before thee. We muft adere and ac- 

quiefce. It is the Lord, faid £//,let him do what 
feemeth him good. And good is the Word of 
the Lord, faid Hezekiah. Profound fubmilTion isv 
our reafonable duty. Ffah 46. i o. Be Jfi/l, and 
know that 1 am God. So we fliall beft drgeji our 
grief, keep our hearts and lips from fin, and not 
charge God joolijhly^ butdifcern & do our inftant 
gnd intmediate dnty. . ^ ■ ^ But I come to a 

G 6. And 



20 TJ^^ Matter taken up 

6. And lafi- Note, HOW good is it for us that 
We knoiD no more^ what fliall befalusto day or 
to morrow ? Knoweft thou that the Lord will take 
away thy Maflerfrom thy head to day > What a 
ftrange fort of queftion wou'd this be to any of 
us ? Our anfwer mufl: have been, — How Ihould 
I know it ? Secret things belong to God. Hqw 
ihould I know, or why Ihould I feek to know 
the things which the Father has in his own 
power. The heart of the Eternal and Immortal 
King is deep^ and he is invifible. And who has 
known the mind of the Lord ? Or who fhaU 
intrude into the Secrets of Heaven ? It is neither 
fojjible to know,nor lawful to enquire after. Shall 
any dare to break thro' the Bounds that God has 
fet about the Mount to gaze into the thick dark- 
aiefs ? What would he meet with there but the 
lightnings & death ! Shall the gates oj death be open- 
ed to thee ? or haji thou fee n the doors of the /hadom 
cj Death} Have we been in that land of darknefs^ 
as darknefs it J elf? and the Jhadojv of death where 
the light is as darknefs ? —Ah, how little do we 
'know what the Lord may do unto us or ours 'ere 
this day or night pafs over / knowefl: thou what a 
day or a night may bring forth ? or what fhall 
fce on the morrow ? Where thou or thine may 
he before the evening or the morning arrive ? — « 
What knowefl: thou but that the Lord will take 
away thy Parent from thy head,thy Confort from 
ihy arms, thy Children from thy knees, thy Ser- 
vants from thy feet ? What haft thou any leafe 
of, fo much as for a day ? any right ia, or any 
power to retail / A^t thou fare of thy own 
" ' "V '^ ; life. 



from the Sons of the Prophets. ai 

life, one day or hour longer ? For what is your 
iife ? it is even as a vapour which in a moment 
Vanifhes away ? And what is ^Mfiefh ? but as 
a wind that pafTes away and cometh not again ! 
They are but as a y?<?^/?, as a watch of the night, 
and as a dream when one awaketh / So man 
fieth down^ and rifeth not again till the heavens be 
no more. 

YEA how calamitous would our whole life be," 
did we forefee the certain period of our life and 
of the lives of ours \ and the whole train of evils 
that poliibly may ly before us and them / This 
profped would call for Abrahams faith to bear 
it •, and wheji he had it lo an horror of great dark- 
nejs fell upon him -, Gen, I'y. 12. and the fowls 
Came down upon his^divided Sacrifices,, ready to 
devour them & him ! he had eno' to do to drive 
them away. Buthowt//^^^^^^/ then ivould our 
devotions and other duties be, did we poor feeble 
creatures fee but a few years before us ? Our 
days and nights would pafs in vifions of frightful 
fpeflres. We fliould deter our felves from en- 
tring into pleafant Relations, which death would 
fo foon diflblve. Children would lofe the Joy of 
their living Parents, and Parents wou'd fee the 
Sentence of death upon their playing or bloom- 
ing Children. The moft lurnifti'd and acccm- 
plifh'd wou'd not be calPd^ or wou'd not go^ into 
Offices of truft and weight ; and ex'^en Prinzes 
wou'd be forfaken by their obliged Servants. The 
Sinnews of induftry and enterprife wou'd be cut 
afunder, and Men's hands wou'd hang down and 
their htarts fink within them and they become 

G 2 de^i 



22 Ths Mafler ti^ken uf 

dead as a ftone. There wou'd be no need o^^ns 
in the Sun or in the M$on ti/ Stars^ to produoe 
dijirefs of nations and pcrfle^'ity upon earth. 
Men's hearts wou'd fail 'era without theje for fear, 
and for looking after the things that are cojning 
on ihtvn. 

WHEREFORE let us be thankful to God, 
and adore his wife Government of the World and 
us, in hiding from us the thii}gs that wou'd but 
Aiforder and unfit us for doing th^ duties & tailing 
the true pleafures of life \ and let us imiuove 
our happy Ignorance of what fhall be on the 
morrow, unto induftry and diligence in the 
known duties of to day. 

IN a word, It is for the honour of God to con- 
c)fal the matters of futurity, and it is for our 
benefit to be kept from looking into the dar!k; be- 
fore us. It is to keep us humble and wife, de^ 
pending and devout, praying and refigning to the 
God of our life, andtrufting in hii^iand piaiiing 
him. It is to keep us living by jdith, whereby 
the Jujl do live. By it they hajUn unto^ and by 
it they wait for the Coming of their Lord. By 
it they embrace the Fromifes afar pfF, and as to 
ih? £w/?/x of Providence they accept them all 
as good and faithful, and find them all working 
together for theif future and c^v^rlafting good. 

• B U T I muft break off—-. ^ I doubt not 

but your hearts have gone along with me thro* 
tJic whole Difcourfe into the forrowful Occajion of 
ir, the lamented fudden Death of the learned and 
ri':iis Mi*. Vrcfiicnt Lever dtt, our v/orthy 

and 



from the Sons of the Prophets. 25 

and Moved Mafler^ whom the Lord has lately 
taken irom our heads — - Ah, how little, my 
dear Brethret!^ and you the Sons znd. Hope of our 
JL,and,— - how little did we know or think what 
the Lord was domg or had done unto us,the laft || 
hord's day but one, when in the morning jie was 
found dead diXi^gone from us in a foft and gentle 
flumber, without any notice to himfelf or us ! 
O the furprizing ftroke of Heaven on us ! Our 
M^Jiet gone^ and not accompanied with one 
parting prayer and cry to heaven for our felves 
and him ! Gone^ and not one of all his learned 
pious Sons about his dying bed, to fee him expire 
Great and Good ( by tUe will of God) as he had 
lived, and to have had a Bleiling from his dying 
lips ! O awful Providence ! which loudly bids 
us hold our peace ^ and be dumb in filence. Hath 
not the hotter power over the clay ^ and the Im- 
menfe Eternal Spirit over the Soul which he has 
made ! 7/ he cut off^ or Jhut itp^ or gather to- 
gether^ then who fijall hinder him ? Who. will fay 
to him^ What doeji thou ? Who hath given htm a 
charge over the earth ? cr who hath difpofed the 
whole world ? If he Jet his heart upon 7nan^ ij he 
gather unto himfelf hisfpirit and his breath ^ all 
flejh Jhall perijl) together^ and man Jl) all turn a- 

gain unto duji : i^ a moment Jhall they die^ 

and the people Jhall be trouhh-d at midnight andpafs 
away ^ and the mighty Jhall be taken away nit bout 
band. 



6 .M^y 3- I 7 24. 

BE 



S4 ^^^ Matter taken up 

BE SUcfit therefore, O all flefti, before the 
Lord. Only after a decent and av/ful filencejet 
Us open our mouth to blefs the glorious For/rier ^ 
Fre/crver of the fpirit of man within him, ubo 
m:ide Him that Soul he was, and who continued 
him fo long unto us, and iisd him fo far in fer-^ 
vices to his Name among us. Thanks be to the 
Faihtr of lights^ with whom is no variablenefs 
nor any Ihadow of turning, and from whom this 
and every good & perfcd Gift comes down, ivho 
made him that Jhining light he was fo long in 
School and Common xmdth. 

YOKjorty years together he h'lsffjone in thli 
Flace and in the eyes of thhfociety^ in near a 
Meridian luftre. For his lAoming^ which we 
do but juft remember,was fo bright that it feem'd 
to us even then the 'Noon of life ^ and the College 
and Country greatly rejoiced in his early and un* 
common light. Kear forty years paft wc faw 
the College flourilhing under his wife Inftrufti- 
on and Government^ his faithful Watch, his dili- 
gent and authoritative Infpedlion. We then be- 
held him efteemed highly in lox^e and honoured 
greatly by thofe that were his Fathers in Age -, 
and as for t^s we reverenced, fear'd and lov'd him 
xis our Father, and as if he had been then grey in 
the Prefidents Chair. The young men faw him ^, 
hid thcwfdvcsp the Aged arofe ^floed up. Then 
fven gave ear to him^ and waited and kept filence 
'ui hit CounfcL His glory v:as then frefh in him 
innd his fpeech dropped upon us. He reprov'd^ 
a^ebuked and exhorted us, and we trembled at his 
frowns % fur he never did it without a fault on 

■ - ■ cui: 



from ikhe Sons of the Vrophets] 25 

our part -, Orif he prais'd ^nd/rr^i/edon us for 
our doing well, we fcarce believed it. 

WHAT God hath f^ce made him to us in 
one Chair of honour and another, I need not re- 
late ^ your eyes have feen it, -— Moft of the 
Men of Letters, in Church or State among us, 
have been bro't up at his feet \ and moft of them 
I fuppofe are ready to rife up iff hlefs his memo- 
ry. — — But he is fuddenly taken up from our 
Head,and we 2iXQ following apace jboth Minijlers 
and Fei9ple^ Tutors j^nd Fupils^ and You his dear 
and mournful Family^ ( with whom we come to 
mix our tears and pour out our prayers ) — We 
are all following, — and how foon ox fuddenly^ 
God only knows. His admonition and inftrufti- 
on therefore this day unto us is that, Mat. 24.44. 
Therefore be ye alfo ready ; for in fuch an hour as 
you think not, the Son of man cometh ! And that. 
Mar. T3«33,34, 3?. Take ye heed^ watch and pray j 
jor ys know not when the time is. Watch ye there^ 
fore, for ye know not when the Mijier oj the houfe 
cometh^ at even, or at midnight, cr at the cock* 
crowing, or in the morning ^ Leji coming fuddenly^ 
he find you fleecing. 



F I N 1 S. 






*mm2r^'^'^:^-iimf^^tm:m*r^ ■'*^J<^^f0'Siifff^.'